After days of anticipation, the Cleveland Browns finally signed edge-rusher Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year deal. The deal is worth $8 million, but can reach $10 million with incentives. Now that Cleveland has locked up their edge rusher opposite Myles Garrett, what’s next for the Browns?
The signing most likely changes the Browns’ plan for the immediate future. Here are some Browns offseason moves fans should be on the look out for from the Cleveland front office.
Improving Interior Defensive Line | Browns Offseason Moves
Obviously, signing Clowney means that the Browns now have three capable edge rushers. Myles Garrett, Clowney and Takkarist McKinley will vie for playing throughout the offseason. The likely outcome will be Clowney and Garrett on opposite ends, with McKinley rotating in where he’s needed. With that being said, some Browns offseason moves need to be made regarding the interior defensive line.
Unfortunately for the Browns, interior defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, signed with the Bengals this offseason. Ogunjobi was great at times for the Browns defense, but disappeared far too much. Browns GM Andrew Berry made another under-the-radar signing, inking Malik Jackson to a one-year deal. He is not as young as Ogunjobi, however, as a veteran, the Browns know what to expect out of him.
Now comes the tough part of the roster moves. The Browns will need to restructure Sheldon Richardson’s current deal, or cut the defensive tackle altogether. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports said as much on Twitter.
Hopefully, Richardson and the Browns can come together and get a deal done that is in the best interest in both parties. However, releasing the veteran is still on the table. That means that the Browns could possibly be looking to lock down the interior in the NFL Draft. If Christian Barmore, the defensive tackle from Alabama, is on the board at 26, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Browns take him. However, it would be more beneficial if they are able to re-structure Richardson’s deal.
Improving the Secondary | Browns Offseason Moves
On paper, it looks like the Browns might be one good outside corner back away from being a serious contender. That could come in the form of Greedy Williams. He has battled injury issues throughout his short two-year career in the NFL. Williams has the potential to be a great, athletic and long corner, but we haven’t been able to see him at full capacity quite yet. There is belief around Cleveland that Greedy could be the missing piece. However, I am not one of those people.
When the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2014, the model for winning a Super Bowl became clear. You get a good young quarterback, still on his rookie deal, and fill out everything else around him while you have the chance. The same thing can also be said about the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. Right now, while Baker Mayfield is on the final year of his rookie deal, the Browns need to add as much talent around him as possible. As I said above, Cleveland may only be a corner away from being a serious threat. For that reason, I am all in on trading up for Jaycee Horn, the physical corner out of South Carolina. It’s likely that Patrick Surtain II will be off the board near the middle of the draft. That leaves Horn and Caleb Farley as the two best corners remaining.
The other possibility in the secondary is a trade. There are two corners in particular that could be on the move sooner than you may think. After the Patriots broke the bank in NFL Free Agency, is Stephon Gilmore in the team’s future plans? It’s hard to say right now. If the Patriots decide to move on from Gilmore, the Browns should be on the phone with New England immediately. The Browns need to add the final touches to the secondary, whether it be in the draft or by other means.
Browns Offense Looks Set
With all the additions on the defensive side of the ball, the Browns offense is still one of the most explosive in the NFL. For the first time in their careers, Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb will enter the season with the same coaching staff as the year before. Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski boasted earlier in the offseason about how impressive it was that the entire staff from 2020 will return this year. The Browns offensive line should be one of the best in the NFL again next year. JC Tretter, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr., finished the 2020 season as the best offensive line in the NFL, according to PFF.
At the skill positions, the Browns will once again have the best one-two running attack in the NFL. Hunt and Chubb combined to rush for over 1,900 yards this past year. Out wide, the Browns will be bringing back Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. There have been rumors of a trade involving OBJ, but I would be shocked if the Browns moved him. Rashard Higgins returns to the offense on a one-year deal worth $2.38 million. His chemistry with Mayfield has been great in both players’ young careers. Quietly, the Browns tight end room is filled with talent. Austin Hooper and David Njoku lead a room that includes former Mackey Award Winner Harrison Bryant and ageless veteran Stephen Carlson.
The Browns could enter the 2021 season as the favorites in the AFC North. They have almost all of the pieces to the puzzle. It’s an odd time to be a Browns fan, simply because the team hasn’t been this good in a long time. It’s going to be an exciting fall in Cleveland!